Why Do I Choose to Focus on Education?

This post is mostly a reminder to myself, but I guess it’d be great if it gives any benefit to anyone else, so here goes..

First of all, I believe that there is an eternal life after death. I believe in the afterlife. I believe that how or where we end up in the afterlife, is determined on how we “perform” in this life on earth. Surely we would want to end up in the best place in afterlife. Therefore, there’s a purpose in this life. There are missions to complete. It’s all stated in the Qur’an.

I choose to pursue a career in education because I believe it gives me a wide opportunity to reach that purpose. Given the reality of our country’s education up until today, I realize that I have goals, ideas and wishes I want to accomplish in the field of education.

It’s true that learning is a never ending journey. We’re all actually learning as we live. Even so, not many of us realize that. It’s possible that it is caused by the way we’ve been educated in schools, where we usually don’t really feel the joy of learning. Well, do you? I mean, do you remember all those tests you had to take when you were in school? Did you actually enjoy learning all those things? Did you actually want to learn all those things? Or did you learn them just because you’re told to do so? Did you learn them just because you had to pass all those tests? Did you know why you had to learn all those things? Did you make use most of those things you learnt?

If you answered no to most of those questions, don’t be disappointed. I’m quite sure most people might answered the same. At least I did. :)

I think this is quite a big deal. The way that most of us are educated (products of the “old school” style, that is), we are mostly taught to memorize lessons, instead of thinking and rationalizing. We are mostly taught to memorize formulas/equations, recognizing questions pattern to figure out which formula to use to answer the questions, instead of understanding the problem, analyzing, and solving them. We were barely taught problem-solving skills! That’s why we barely know how to apply all those things we learnt, in the real life.

If learning is a lifetime process, then why should focus on education? Really? You want to waste all those years studying in school without actually learning important life skills? If school/education is a way to make a good life, then why don’t school teach us how to actually live? Why aren’t we taught actual life skills? Why aren’t we made aware of it, so that we can develop those skills better, while we have so much time in school?

I want to at least bring the joy back in learning. I want kids to focus less on tests, and actually enjoy learning, enjoy knowing theirselves, discovering new things, even discovering their true potential, focus on their dreams; what they want to do, who they want to be. It would be a very powerful thing to shape up a high quality human being, instead of ranking them by a set of scores and standards. Because every human being is unique. Not everyone is meant to be doctors, scientists, historians, engineers, and so on. There are people who are good at logics, there are people who are amazing at sports, there are people who are sensitive for tunes, there are people who are better at speaking their ideas, there are people who can write beautiful words, there are people who can produce beautiful arts. We cannot judge them based on specific standards. We all have our own dreams growing up, then why would we teach them to be the same?

It’s true that by not having standardization test, it would be a more challenging and complicated process in evaluating education outcome. Sure it would need different layers and perspectives in the evaluation, it would be troublesome for educators and so on.. but isn’t it the right thing to do? Would it be fair to choose the “easiest” way, while it most likely would determine a child’s future? A human life is at stake here. Wouldn’t you give more effort in exchange for a higher quality of human resource? Wouldn’t better human resources benefit our country’s development more? Sure it might cost more on educational economics, but wouldn’t it rather cut costs in training adults in “productive” ages?

One of the countries that has this kind of concept in their education is Finland, and they’re quite successful for it. True, in the last few years, they haven’t topped the PISA rankings as they used to be, but considering their economics situations and also comparing their educational methods to those East Asian countries acing the PISA test, Finland’s method is by far still preferable, I’d say. Finland is known for their unorthodox educational system, and with this nonconventional approach, they’re still among the top achievers in PISA tests. It is really intriguing to look further into Finland’s education system, and hopefully there are -not only a thing or two- but much more we can learn and adapt from Finland’s success in education.

Honestly there are more ideas I can think of but these are the ones I can write right now, so.. perhaps I’ll update this later.

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